Featured App: Furry Friends Run the Show in Toca Boca’s Newest App



On December 7, Toca Boca launched its newest app Toca Life: Pets, the first Toca Boca app all about pets! With more than 120 real-life and make-believe animals, kids can play with their pets IRL and virtually, creating their own worlds and embarking on silly adventures with furry friends.

In Toca Life: Pets, kids are in control of which pets they want to play with and how their pet’s story evolves. Are they bringing their pet along on a family picnic or take their pet to the vet? Maybe their pet is going to a birthday party to celebrate with friends! Kids will train, feed, bathe and entertain their pets while learning what it takes to own a real pet and letting discovery guide their play. Yes, they even have to clean up after their pets, which often takes form as a rainbow colored poop! Kids will explore the five bustling locations, including the pet park, pet hotel, veterinary and more. At the pet hotel, every pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or sloth-bat, will find a nice spot to play or relax while their owners are away. There are secret features to be discovered in the pet park as kids create their own play scenario with their favorite creatures.

Additional features of Toca Life: Pets include:

  • Kids can role-play in five locations: pet park, pet hotel, veterinary, pet shop and breeder’s bungalow
  • 23 new characters for kids to meet
  • Kids can bathe muddy pets and get them clean again, or pretend to be a vet and care for sick or injured pets
  • The pets can be dressed up in fun hats — hats stack on pets stack on hats
  • By building an agility course kids can help train and exercise their pets
  • It even includes surprises for kids to discover — they can pull the branch in the pet park to see what’s hidden

For the first time, Toca Boca tapped fans to help co-create new characters in Toca Life: Pets. The brand received over 1,000 suggestions based on kids’ real and imaginary pets, and from those ideas Toca Boca produced 3 replicas in the new app. The pet rock and sloth bat featured in the app were inspired by drawing and photos from fans and transformed into real Toca Boca characters.

“Sometimes pets are cuddly, fun, weird or even scary. Regardless, they are often a big part of our lives,” said Petter Karlsson, Play Designer. “In Toca Life: Pets you pick which pets you want to play with in your life and decide their stories. As with all of the apps in the Toca Life series, Toca Life: Pets puts kids in the director’s seat to make up their own stories”

Toca Life: Pets features a kid-friendly interface without third-party advertising, free of rules, levels or high scores. Toca Life: Pets is $2.99 on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon . To download please use this link Toca Life: Pets – Toca Boca AB 


Toca Life: Pets Toca Life: Pets by Toca Boca AB

Price: $2.99 USD

Welcome to Toca Life: Pets, where you and your animal friends run the show! What’s your favorite pet like? Furry and fast? Wet and wiggly? A little bit creepy? With more than 120 animals, Toca Life: .

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).



Featured App: Read with Phonzy by MeowTek



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Read With PhonzyRead with Phonzy by MeowTek is a free universal app for iOS which features speech recognition to understand how well kids pronounced words using a character named Phonzy who provides prompts on the words.  The app requires that you opt in via email to use it and understand the terms and conditions.  It utilizes speech technology which recognizes and assesses the specific word that you are focusing on in the sentence.  It works best with children and does work well in a noisy environment like a busy home or a place where there is background noise.  As children pronounce words correctly, they can unlock the word which is then put into a gallery.  It also helps kids build confidence in reading (especially sight words) and improves skills of sentence building and thinking quickly.  We tested the app in a variety of environments including with a television on in the background, at a local park and in a classroom with other children.  Each time Phonzy was able to zero in and understand the words being spoken without picking up the ambient noise.

iPad Screenshot 4

One of the great things for me about the app was that I could help my son focus in on specific word types which he would learn and then as he got better with the pronunciation we were able to go back and re-listen to where he might have previously stumbled.  The app helps you correctly pronounce words and encourages children to read out loud – without a lot of corrections “in the moment” which then helps to build self confidence and sounding out skills.  MeowTek collects the audio recordings to improve the speech technology of the app and increase recognition, but no personal information about your child is collected.  Phonzy currently focuses on key words and important phrases, with the end goal of understanding the entire sentence.  The app is PRIVIO certified which means that MeoTek has COPPA compliant privacy practices to protect your child’s information and the verification via email is the method of ensuring that a parent understands that their child is using the app.

To use the app, Phonzy presents the user with a simple sentence similar to the one above with one specific word highlighted.  Your child reads and records the sentence and if the highlighted word is pronounced correctly, you get the object which is then placed in your gallery.  The words presented are appropriate for children from late kindergarten through mid-elementary school or approximately end of grade 3 according to the ones that I saw.  My son gained huge amounts of confidence when reading with Phonzy aloud because I wasn’t always trying to correct him and he didn’t feel “pressured” to perform on the spot.  My son liked that Phonzy would recognize his words most of the time and that he could easily re-record them as needed.

iPhone Screenshot 2

Phonzy is currently working to understand additional speech and speech recognition technology.  Currently, Phonzy is programmed to understand the specific highlighted words, very occasionally he will misunderstand a user however, as my son used the app more we found that Phonzy was correct in 18/20 trials.  The data collected from the app is made anonymous and is used to build and improve on speech recognition technology, it is never shared with any third parties and neither are the actual recordings.  I also loved that I could save the sentences that my son was saying and share them with his speech therapist to show his progress over time.

Overall, this is a great free app that encourages children to increase the number of words that they can read and earn some fun gallery prizes doing so.  It was a great self confidence booster for my son who struggled at times reading out loud and now has built up some confidence as he works through using the app and practicing new words.  We also liked knowing that we were helping Meowtek improve their speech recognition technology and perhaps, learn from some of the challenges that my son was having.

 

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Category:
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

$


Also available on Google Play and Amazon

NOTE:  This post was sponsored by Meowtek but all opinions expressed are mine and are given honestly

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

#Giveaway Nighthawk X8 Tri-Band WiFi Router from NETGEAR ($400 Value)

X81To get the best home WiFi experience you need a high-performance router and the Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Router  from NETGEAR is a great, fast, Smart Tri-Band router.  We reviewed the Nighthawk X8 earlier this year and were very impressed with it’s speed and performance. Thanks to NETGEAR we can now give away a  new Nighthawk X8 to one lucky reader !

The Nighthawk X8 is a smart Tri-Band router with one 2.4GHz and two 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. The X8 uses Smart Connect which intelligently assigns each connected device to the fastest WiFi band possible, allowing the devices to connect at their maximum speed thus optimizing WiFi performance.  It has Quad Stream and Implicit & Explicit Beam-forming for both 2.4 & 5GHz bands. It has combined wireless speeds up to 5.3Gbps. It has a dual core 1.4GHz processor, 128 MB Flash and 512 MB RAM memory.

The X8  has 8 antennae- 4 internal and 4 external with industry first active antennae.

For wired connections the X8 has 6 Gigabit Ethernet ports including  two aggregate ports for faster file transfers.

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The X8 also allows Simple and Secure Home Data Storage via USB

Simply plug your USB hard drive into the X8 then you can access files on it from anywhere via the ReadyCLOUD mobile app or web portal. It’s like having your own Google Drive or Dropbox without fees or storage limits.

RRP $399.99 Available from Amazon, Beat Buy, Target and many other retailers.

Read our full review of the Nighthawk X8 here and if you would like to win one of your own enter below.
recommended-by-the-imums

 

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a Nighthawk X8 Smart WiFi Router from NETGEAR please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to USA only and a valid mailing address is required to claim the prize.  An internet connection is required to use this prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Review of Circuit Scribe Electronics Kits and Giveaway for a Maker Kit – #STEM

BOSTON, MA - MAY 25.  Ryan Martin (left) of Boston and Jonas Gillespie (8) of Ithaca, NY happily observe the successful completion of an electronic circuit to power a moter. Martin is one of the members of an Electroninks outreach team that provided instruction and encouragement to children exploring circuit design using "Circuit Scribe" conductive ink and electronic components at Boston's Museum of Science.  Lori K. Sanders/Cambridge, MA.

Circuit Scribe Kits provide a great introduction to electronics. They teach kids about the basics of electronics whilst having them build a series of projects, which makes learning fun! There is no need to learn to solder when creating the projects- you simply use the included conductive silver ink pen to draw the wires and make connections. I recently got the opportunity to test out the CircuitScribe Ultimate Kit and found that it was a great addition to our Homeschool curriculum.

Review

The Circuit Scribe kits consist of a variety of electronic components as a series of magnetic modules, a workbook, a steel sheet, a circuit stencil and a conductive silver ink pen.  The Ultimate Kit contains over 30 components, plus instructions for lots of projects.

 

The Modules are color coded:

Input e.g. switch =red

Output e.g. LED =yellow

Connection e.g. transistor =grey

Power e.g. battery =blue

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Workbook

The Workbook contains lots of projects and they are color-coded so that you know at a glance which projects are compatible with the Basic or Maker or Ultimate kits. All projects can be completed using the Ultimate kit, most can be done with the Maker kit but the Basic kit can do less.

The steel sheet is used to place between pages of the workbook and acts as a magnetic backdrop for the projects. It also acts as a glossary of symbols and abbreviations used for describing electronic circuits and components.

For each project the student learns the theory behind the project, sees a circuit diagram for the project, then draws in the indicated wires using the silver ink pen.  They are encouraged to use some artistic flare rather than just tracing along the lines. Once they have drawn the required wires they can place the  modules in the indicated spots and they will magnetically stick to the steel sheet through the paper connecting to the silver ink wires as they do so. It takes a little practice to draw the wires so that they will conduct electricity well- you need to make the lines nice and thick without any breaks, but even if you don’t get them perfect the first time you can just add more ink to reinforce any areas of weakness.

As they work through the projects students learn the characteristics of different types of electrical components, how to create and read circuit diagrams.  As the students learn about the components they are encouraged to be creative and design their own circuits. The Ultimate kit is even contains connectors that allow you to use it with Arduino and Raspberry Pi (not included), and has a sample Arduino project.

Summary

Not only do Circuit Scribe kits provide projects to do, but they also teach the basics of electronics. Students learn about electrical components such as resistors, potentiometers and switches, plus they learn to draw circuit diagrams as well as build projects. This is a great kit for homeschooling families as it has students learning about physics, electricity and electronics in a hands on way. It is also a fun introduction to electronics for ages 10- adult – I know I learned from using it! Highly recommended #STEM gift.

recommended-by-the-imums

Maker Kit Giveaway

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Thanks to Circuit Scribe One lucky reader of The iMums can win a Circuit Scribe kit of their own- we have a Maker Kit to give away (RRP $79.99)

The Maker Kit contains 17 electronic components and instructions for a variety of projects.

Maker Kit Contains:

11 Modules:

  • 9V Battery adapter with 9V battery
  • x2 Bi-LED
  • SPST Switch
  • NPN Transistor
  • 2-Pin Adapter with 5x resistors (100, 1k, 10k, 100k and 1M ohm), 2x capacitors (0.1uF, 1.0uF), and one photoresistor (10k ohms)
  • Potentiometer – 10k ohms
  • Blinker
  • Buzzer
  • RGB LED
  • Light Sensor

Additional Items:

  • Conductive Ink Pen
  • Circuit Stencil
  • Jumper Sticker Sheet
  • Workbook
  • Steel sheet

Available from CircuitScribe.comAmazon and other retailers for US$79.99,

 

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a Maker kit from Circuit Scribe ($79.99 value), please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to USA ONLY and a valid mailing address is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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